I’m lucky to be spending a fair amount of my summer in Paris again (can you say 7 days and counting?!) but since I recognise that most people can’t, I’m happy to bring you a cheaper way to bring a little bit of Paris to your table this summer – Laura Calder’s latest book, Paris Express.
While many people think of French food as being complicated and time-comsuming, Paris Express proves otherwise. It’s a book filled with quick-to-prepare, modern recipes and although not every recipe takes 30 minutes or less (as the “Express” part of the title might lead you to believe), these are the types of recipes that will inspire you every day in your kitchen and bring a little piece of the City of Light to your table. Although Calder started out writing the book as a sort of a “French fast food” cookbook, she quickly realised that it didn’t ring quite true; she says in the introduction that she realised she didn’t know any French people for whom speed was a priority in the kitchen – for some “quick” means 15 minutes, whilst for others 3 hours might be more their idea of a quick meal! And so Calder changed her tune, moving the focus from “quick” to quick and/ or easy but most importantly, enjoyable to prepare. As she says, “If you’re happy [in the kitchen...] why would you be in a great hurry to get it all over with? Therein lies the greatest gulf between the attitude towards food in France and that in most other places.”
I’ve honestly marked so many of the recipes in this book that I hardly know where to begin! I gave this to a dear friend who started cooking from this the day she received it – emailing me “Chicken tagine with oranges and couscous with currants for dinner last night – all made in an hour after we got home from Girl Scouts – LOVE!” See now THIS is what Laura’s talking about. Bringing the enjoyment back to cooking real, beautiful food.
Calder weaves stories into each recipe – this is as much a “reading for enjoyment” book as a cookbook – and interspersed with the recipes, you’ll find many of her tips for bringing that “je ne sais quoi” to your life, including tips for shopping like a Parisian (hint: it’s not once every two weeks at a big box supermarket!), the importance of salt and pepper (!) and how learning to roast a chicken can change your life (it can!). My only criticism of the book would be that it doesn’t include hands-on or cooking times in the notes for each recipe. Whilst I agree that you shouldn’t choose a recipe based solely on how long it takes to make, sometimes it is helpful to know that information so you can plan ahead.
But really, you can’t go wrong with a cookbook that includes a recipe for one of my all-time favourite French “fast food” meals (the Rotisserie Chicken Dinner) can you?
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to create “simple, spontaneous Parisin-style feasts”.
A Paris Express giveaway for everyone!
Thanks to the kind folks at Harper Collins Canada I have one copy of “Paris Express” to give away. And because the shipping is on me, I’m opening this up to all readers worldwide!
How to enter:
There are 2 ways to enter (maximum of two entries per person for the duration of the contest).
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what dish makes you think of Paris and why.
2. Tweet the following message: Enter to win @LauraCalder ‘s “Paris Express” from @HarperCollinsCa + @eatlivtravwrite (worldwide!) Details: http://bit.ly/1neHfm9 then come back to leave a second comment letting me know you did.
Eligibility and contest rules:
- Open to anyone, anwhere.
- No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
- Winner will be chosen randomly (using www.random.org) from all qualified entries on Sunday June 22nd 2014 after 6pm EST.
- Winner will be notified via email Monday June 23rd 2014.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “Paris Express” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.
Please note: The product links from Amazon, Amazon.ca are affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase the product I have linked to or any other product, I will receive a small percentage of the sale price.
** Congrats Pamela who won my Delicious! giveaway – I’ll be in touch via email!